At the launch of a series activities in the context of World Heart Day 2019, the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, raised the alarm as regards the increasing number of patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and related diseases. Some 3,000 to 3,500 Mauritians die from health complications related to CVD, while some 1,300 heart surgeries are carried out each year compared to 600 in 2006, he indicated.
The Minister was speaking at the launching ceremony held on Saturday 28 September 2019, at Jean Lebrun Government School, in Port-Louis. Screening exercises, talks, counselling, sensitisation programmes and exhibitions focusing on the causes and preventive measures of cardiovascular diseases were held on the same day.
In his address, Dr Husnoo highlighted that CVD are among one of the world's greater killers, accounting for nearly half of all Non-Communicable Diseases deaths and claiming 17.9 million lives each year.
According to the Minister, it is crucial to educate and motivate the population to keep their hearts healthy by taking key actions at an early stage to control risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. He urged everyone to take charge of the health of their hearts and that of their loved ones so as to help reduce the incidence and prevalence of CVD.
Minister Husnoo also spoke about Government's core aim of providing quality healthcare to the population by making the latest medical technology accessible to all, and improving the quality of hospital services through the provision of upgraded, renovated and completely new infrastructure, modern equipment, technologically-based and evidenced-based specialised medical services. Government is determined to protect the population from life-endangering conditions resulting from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), and hence is scaling up efforts by providing numerous healthcare facilities, he added.
Key measures taken to lower the prevalence of CVD in Mauritius include: Amendment to the Food Regulation Act; increase of taxes on cigarettes; development of facilities for physical activities such as health tracks, outdoor gyms, health clubs and aerobics; mobile clinics for screening of diabetes, hypertension and obesity; acquisition of five new Advanced Cardiac Resuscitation Ambulances; recruitment of new cardiac surgeons at Cardiac Centre in Candos Hospital; and decentralisation of cardiac services in all Regional Hospitals.
The Minister also recalled that Government is investing massively in improving healthcare. There are several new projects in the pipeline regarding the health sector, he pointed out and these are notably: the new ENT Hospital at Vacoas; a new Cancer Hospital at Solferino Vacoas; and an Eye Hospital at Réduit.
World Heart Day 2019
World Heart Day 2019, observed on 29 September, is a global campaign during which the public is sensitised about CVD while highlighting actions that can be taken to prevent and control CVD. The theme chosen to mark this year's event is "My Heart, Your Heart".
Activities organised by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life include: sensitisation programmes on TV and radio as well as talks on CVD and their risk factors and the importance of diet and exercise in Community Centres, Social Welfare Centres and Government Schools; empowerment sessions for NCDs patients on CVD and healthy lifestyle at regional level; and Continuous Medical Education for medical and para-medical staff.